How Electronic Medical Records Improve Patient Care
Although the increase in computer use has helped record keeping and document filing, the modern medical office needs the organizational capabilities of online document management.
Electronic medical records solutions have been developed by IT professionals and are marketed by a variety of companies. Their purpose is to manage all information, whether hard copy or electronic, by uploading all data to a secure, remote setting that is encrypted and yet easily accessible to those who need it. This addresses the environmental goal of creating a paperless office as well as the business goal of improved efficiency, reduced costs and ease of access.
In relation to patient care, the time freed up by a more efficient document management solution allows more time for direct doctor - patient interaction. The open access to patient files by all participating medical team members allows for online file sharing that speeds up collaboration and keeps all aspects of the patient’s care readily available.
In spite of the terms used above describing patient information as being readily accessible and open access, these new EMR systems adhere strictly to all HIPAA compliance regulations. The information stored in these files is even be more secure than the material passed back and forth or copied and disseminated to different offices. HIPAA security is achieved by the system manager who determines levels of access to file users, assigns private passwords, blocks access to the most sensitive information and monitors file use with the help of alerts and logs showing the time and source of all file access.
The improvements in these electronic records systems enable the files to be accessed at any time from all types of electronic devices. The medical team is able to collaborate on documents, xrays, and MRI’s right from their office, again saving time because of the elimination of the need for face to face meetings. Any team member with permissions can edit and update information and make it available to all team members with version controls to refer back to older versions and folder subscription that enables users to be notified of additions and changes to folders and files.
The vast extent of material that can be managed and stored for each patient includes anything that would have been stored in file cabinets and more. Patient charts, histories, lab or other test results, film studies, billing information and scheduling can be automatically filed by a bar code that identifies the patient. Contacts can be backed up and shared and tasks can be assigned right through the users secure portal.
The benefits of online document storage and the ease of access to patient files by all medical team personnel can be seen almost as soon as the decision to go all electronic is made.Up and running in minutes, fully secure and HIPAA compliant makes electronic medical records solutions invaluable to the medical office and patient care today.
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